The Hilltoppers earned their seventh consecutive victory to start the season, pounding Cherokee 70-32 in the Big 7 Conference basketball opener for both teams Tuesday night at The New Gym.
“Our kids are playing hard and they are embracing the defensive end,” said Science Hill coach Ken Cutlip. “And our offense is getting better. I think we shared the basketball. This is a very unselfish group. They are an exciting team to watch. Seven games in, I’m really pleased with where we are right now.”
Science Hill scored the game’s first eight points and stayed in command throughout the rest of the contest. The Hilltoppers led 16-5 at the end of the first quarter and outscored the Chiefs 21-7 in the second period.
Cutlip said he was pleased with the limits his team’s defense placed on Cherokee’s offense.
“Any time you hold a team to 12 points in a half, that speaks volumes about your defense,” he said. “Our rebounding has really improved from last year and we’re doing a better job on the boards.”
Science Hill took a 58-25 lead into the fourth quarter. The offense was consistent throughout the contest.
“Our kids are getting out and running offensively,” Cutlip said. “A lot of things are opening up for us.”
Science Hill had a balanced attack with inside force Jake Matherne among the leaders. He totaled 14 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
Hunter Phillips was also in the scoring mix with 14 points and seven rebounds. Jordan McLoyd added 11 points and four assists.
Also having a big game was Griffin Ballard, who nearly reached double figures with nine assists and also led the team with five steals. Keynan Cutlip added nine points.
Cherokee (3-4, 0-1) didn’t have any players in double figures but Micah Jones led with eight points.
LADY ’TOPPERS BREEZE
Science Hill exploded from an eight-point lead after one quarter, holding Cherokee to just one bucket for over 12 minutes — while tacking on 28 tallies to the home side of the scoreboard — in a 63-15 drubbing.
Jeila Greenlee paced the Lady Hilltoppers (3-2, 1-0) with 17 points, and Alasia Smith chipped in with 14.
Sam Tilson totaled seven points and Destiny Jarnigan had six for the Lady Chiefs (1-6, 0-1).